I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman: Lindsey Polin's Journey

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Written by Elizabeth Harris Photography by Tracey McGuire and Dawn Sanborn

An evening filed with emotion began as Lindsey Polin’s mom, sister, grandma and friends gathered at Zzest to see her photos for the first time. After all were comfortably seated, her mother, Kristen Herring-Asleson, tearfully read aloud the nomination letter she wrote.

A Mother’s Love

I am nominating my daughter, Lindsey Polin, as one of your Beautiful Women. At the tender age of 17, Lindsey was an addict who spent two years of her life in and out of treatment. In 2010, she discovered sobriety, but she also discovered she was pregnant. Out of pure selflessness, at the age of 19, she lovingly created an adoption plan for her firstborn child. That same year, my sister and her husband were given the news that they could not have their own children. Lindsey gave them the first choice to be the adoptive parents, which they excitedly accepted. When Lindsey’s daughter was born, she lovingly kissed her cheeks and handed her to her new parents.

In essence, although she struggled with low self-esteem and confidence, everyone who knew her knew that she was capable of having confidence and self-esteem.  She just had to believe in herself in order for those things to shine through. Yet, when she hurt on the inside, it was evident on the outside whose who saw her self-inflicted scars. 



Girls' Night Out: Look What's Poppin': Exploring the Popularity of Pop-Up Restaruants

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Written by Kim Zabel Photography by Kim Zabel


In the back room of Forager Brewing Company, three long communal tables await us, as if we are sitting down to dinner with family. Even though we haven't met everyone at the table, it doesn't take long before we have introduced ourselves and jokingly bemoaned our difficulties remembering names.

According to the menu, our first course is simply named “broccoli,” but what we see in front of us is anything but simple. Two, sometimes three, pieces of large, plump broccoli from Dan and Hannah Miller’s Easy Yoke Farm are smothered in a rich beer cheese sauce, embedded with a slice of bacon. 

After finishing her first bite, my friend, Jeanne, smiles at me and says, “You can really tell when your food is grown with love and care.”


The 2016 presidential election is fast approaching, and this year’s candidates may be the most divisive in decades. Participating in meaningful discussions while still maintaining relationships can be challenging—especially when even mainstream political parties are divided amongst themselves. 

Local media personalities Betsy Singer of ABC 6 News and Julie Jones of Fox Country 102.5 have become especially adept at managing this precarious balancing act. They agree that discussing politics in mixed company is almost always a bad idea and, if possible, should be avoided. When those discussions can’t be avoided, they offer suggestions to help preserve relationships.



Hair: more or less?

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Written by Elizabeth Harris

Hair comes in all forms: Thick, dark, frizzy, thin, light, smooth, the list goes on. Hair is a big part of our appearance, and it can determine what kind of day you are going to have. 

I’m not just talking about the hair on our heads. Have you ever gotten in your car and noticed the stray eyebrow hairs you missed with your tweezers? Or what about that peach fuzz above your lip? Let’s not forget about the monotonous task of shaving legs and underarms day after day. 

Well, good news for all of us, there are solutions to these problems, and we have a lot of great options here in Rochester. 


Dark hair can be a wonderful and terrible thing. Hair in darker shades can give a sultry or exotic look, but it also requires shaving twice as often as light hair. If shaving has worn you out, it might be worth looking into laser hair removal.

Essence Skin Clinic, located in the heart of downtown Rochester, offers all sorts of laser hair removal. This treatment can be done on any part of the body where hairless skin is desired. This includes legs, arms, face, back and other areas. The best part is that it permanently reduces hair growth. Pricing varies by the number of treatments needed and the area of hair removal. 



I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman: Amy Monson Shines Her Light

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Written by Photography by Dawn Sanborn and Tracey McGuire

Gathered around Sarah and Amy Monson, as witnesses to their fruitful lives together, were Sarah’s mother Kathy Hanson, their Daughter Lynnea Lehmeier, and treasured friends. Sarah’s admiration for Amy became a rendition of their love story as she read the I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman nomination letter aloud, not holding back, letting tears flow between the lines of love and laughter. 

Nomination Love Letter 

I am writing to nominate Amy Monson because without question, she is the most beautiful woman I have ever known. Despite years of trying to help her see what I see, Amy still struggles to see her true and undeniable beauty.  

Amy doesn’t really see herself as beautiful but is grateful that I think she is. She wishes to be a prism, so that when people see and know her, they will see God’s light and love reflected because of who she is. If this isn’t beautiful, I am not sure what is.



Kicking Up Dust: Women are Changing the Face of Farming

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Written by Sarah Oslund Photography by Fagan Studios

Every industry has its stereotypes. Farming is no different. Just turn on your local country music radio station and you’ll hear song after song about farmer boys wooing ladies with their trucks and tractors. 

But the demographics of the farming industry are shifting. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service says the number of men operating farms is on the decline, and women are playing an increasingly active role in the management of farms and ranches across the nation.

While statistics on paper may indicate that the number of female farmers has increased over the past few decades, generations of stories about those growing the food that fuels our nation clearly describe the pivotal and often under appreciated roles that women have played in the farming industry for centuries.



I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman

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Written by Dawn Sanborn Photography by Dawn Sanborn Photography and Tracey McGuire

Good Morning,

How many people will nominate themselves? That's right—I am nominating myself for this. I get told often that I need to do something for me. I would like to go to the store and not think about what someone else would want but instead what I need or want. I truthfully haven't bought a new pair of pants or even a shirt for myself for many years. 

I am currently almost six months pregnant, due February 1, and have gotten hand-me-down maternity clothes from anyone I know, making them into my own. Most items are too big, and I make them work to save money so I can make sure my son Tucker (age 5) can get what he needs whenever he needs it. I haven't gotten my hair, makeup or nails done since I was in high school. I figured that someone else could use the money I have if I have any extra. Most days with my hormones running on high, I don't feel the need to look "beautiful," as I watch my body go through many changes. This would be amazing for me get this special treatment. (I don’t want) to worry if someone else could use what I have. (I want) to be able to look in the mirror, and be proud to call myself beautiful. 


Hometown: Minneapolis, MN

Age: 40

Family: Wife, Marcia, and eight children

Vocation: Program supervisor at Family Service Rochester, associate pastor at Word of Life Church, & executive director of Life Community Development Corporation

PAM: You’re really busy. How many things do you do?

TIERRE:At Family Service Rochester (FSR), I supervise three child welfare programs. Two look specifically at families of color, and the third is a truancy diversion program. I founded the Father Project, a parenting program at FSR, but it’s currently on hold due to lack of federal funding. And I preach at Word of Life Church.



Generations of Love: Determination to Stay Connected Keeps This Family Close

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Written by Tracy Will Photography by Fagan Studios

For many extended families, gathering together involves vacation time, airplane tickets and cross-country travels. for one group of southeastern Minnesota women, it's not that complicated. Getting four generations in one place is as simple as a short car ride. 

Jean Whiting, her daughter Lori McConnell, granddaughter Lindsey Rippentrop and great-granddaughter Layla Rippentrop all live within an hour of one another. Jean's in Hayfield; Lori lives in Lake City, and Lindsey and Layla live in Rochester.

"We get together as often as we can," says Lori. "We make it a priority, especially at those times when we really want to be with family, like holidays and birthdays—and we're there for the tough times too."



I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman: Beauty Comes in All Shapes and Sizes, Sheri Rector Now Feels Beautiful

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Written by Rochester Women Magazine Photography by Tracey McGuire and Dawn Sanborn

SHERI RECTOR: I Am A Beautiful Rochester Woman Nomination Letter

By Stella Madden

Attending any charity event when food is freely and bountifully disbursed attracts needy people. Usually needy people are living on the poverty level or below (in some places considered the “untouchables”). I'm one of the needy people, and so is Sheri Rector. 

My first impression of Sheri was seeing her walk down those old, concrete, basement stairs at Bethel Lutheran Church (to Community Food Response).  Sheri's not a petite woman and isn't updating a fashion portfolio. Her presence might have made her a plus model during the Roman Era. She has long, thick, black hair, lacking any trace of gray. She has large, round, flabby arms (covered) in a flowered green summer dress flowing softly around her equally unshapely legs. She executes a maximum comfortableness, yet announces a cry for refinement, diet and exercise. 

My second impression of Sheri was artsy. We both attended a free painting class. Each participant in this women-only event made introductions and offered brief self-comments. Sheri did not lie or maintain a pseudo appearance. "I know I overeat. I can't help it. I don't feel beautiful. I feel ugly," she explains.


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